Venezuelan Opposition leader Henrique Capriles banned from running for office Friday April 07,2017
Venezuelan authorities have banned top opposition leader Henrique Capriles from running for office for 15 years, the latest move in an increasingly tense power struggle in the crisis-hit country.
Capriles read from excerpts of the comptroller general's order at a rally on Friday night April 07,2017 in which he urged supporters to take to the streets, beginning with a previously scheduled demonstration on Saturday, to defend their political rights and demand the removal of President Nicolas Maduro.
"When the dictatorship squeals it's a sign we're advancing," he said in a speech surrounded by other leading opposition figures, many of whom themselves have been targeted. "The only one who is disqualified here is you, Nicolas Maduro."
The 44-year-old Capriles has been the most prominent leader of Venezuela's opposition over the past decade, twice coming close to winning the presidency.
He is currently governor of Miranda state, which surrounds Caracas.
The ban deals a blow to the opposition after stepped-up protests this week and accusations that Maduro is tightening his grip on power and cracking down on dissent.
Leaders in the ruling socialist party have accused Capriles in recent days of trying to provoke a bloodbath through his leadership of protests, many of which have ended in tear gas and rubber bullets.